Alumnet Simmons College

HomeDirectoryEventsClass NotesClasses, Schools & ClubsVolunteersGivingNewsMaking Education Work Campaign

Professor Mary Shapiro Named Inaugural Diane Kagen Trust Professor

Message from Provost Katie Conboy:

Dear Alumnae/i,

Mary ShapiroLast year, one of the generous gifts to the Making Education Work Campaign came from the Trust Family to endow the Diane Kagen Trust '77GS Professorship for Leadership Development. This Professorship will enable us to highlight the outstanding work we already do on leadership in all five schools at Simmons and to develop a leadership platform within the core experience we are designing for our undergraduates.

I am delighted to announce that I have named Professor Mary Shapiro as the inaugural Diane Kagen Trust Professor. This is a three-year appointment that is renewable. I know that everyone in the community will know why Mary is such an outstanding choice for this honor, but it is worth enumerating some of the reasons!

Not only does Mary have more than two decades of experience teaching undergraduate, graduate, and executive education courses focusing on leadership in the School of Management, but she also has a long history of passionate commitment to students, to service learning, and to broad institutional collaboration. Her research focus on the experiences of girls and their aspirations and gendered beliefs is thoroughly consistent with the Simmons mission. So let me count the ways she fills up the chair she'll hold.

Her commitment to students is evident in the many roles she takes on outside of her regular teaching. For example, she has been involved in every World Challenge since the inception of the program, either teaching or providing the "team" curriculum for Challenges taught by others. She teaches several sessions in the Emerging Leaders program every year and provides key sessions for the Career Education Center that are open to all students. And she participates each year in Admissions recruiting events, helping prospective students to understand the special experience they will have as undergraduates at Simmons College.

She has deeply integrated service learning into her courses, meeting the needs of community non-profits and exposing students to the ways their growing theoretical understanding can be applied in a meaningful way to real problems. The Scott/Ross Center recognized this commitment with the Scott/Ross Award for Service Learning in 2013 and a commendation in 2014.

Her collaborative generosity is legendary on campus. She has widely shared her "teams" curriculum with other faculty to imbed in their own syllabi or has visited their classrooms to teach about teams. That pedagogy and its materials grew from Mary's work in organizations, and culminated last spring with her Harvard Business School book on teams. As Simmons engaged with several important international initiatives—The Fulbright Re-entry Program and the State Department-sponsored Women Changing the Face of Leadership Program—Mary developed and executed important aspects of the curriculum for participants. This year, she served as the Simmons faculty director for the Women in Public Service Project, a program we developed with Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, in conjunction with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Moreover, she leads a research team with CAS and SOM faculty exploring middle school girls, their confidence, career aspirations, and gendered beliefs, and the impact of single-sex organizations. Her expertise in these areas is recognized by many external organizations. She serves on the Planning Committee for the National Conference on Girls' Education and has been a member of the Girl Scouts Board of Directors for eight years.

I am delighted that Professor Mary Shapiro will bring her expertise to this new chair and I look forward to working with her to ensure that this role makes a significant impact on the Simmons community. With Mary in place, I have no doubt this will happen. Please join me in congratulating her on this richly deserved recognition.

Best regards,


Katie Conboy, Ph.D.
Provost & Senior Vice President
Simmons College


MEW New Goal Simmons College


Simmons College Alumnae/i Facebook Page  Simmons Alumni on Twitter   Simmons College LinkedIn Group  Flickr  Simmons Alumni on Instagram